The 2007 NFL Draft featured perhaps the biggest bust in NFL history when the Oakland Raiders selected JaMarcus Russell. The LSU quarterback was highly touted entering the draft, but fell flat and disappointed. However, once you get past that pick, 2007 had a lot of talented prospects. Some of the players selected went on to become Pro Bowlers for several years. I figured that, with the 2017 NFL Draft coming up, it would be fun to look back at some of the drafts over the past 10 years. Without further ado, let’s get started.
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1. Oakland Raiders- Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
Actual Selection: JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
Instead of picking Russell – one of the worst picks in NFL Draft history – the Raiders select Calvin Johnson, who went on to become arguably the greatest wide receiver of the 21st century so far. He would’ve been a great weapon for a team whose No. 1 target was Jerry Porter.
2. Detroit Lions- Adrian Peterson, RB, LSU
Actual Selection: Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
Calvin Johnson was a rare slam-dunk pick by Matt Millen. However, with him gone, the Lions go with the greatest running back since Emmitt Smith in Adrian Peterson. Although they had Kevin Jones (who was solid, at the time), they couldn’t pass up on an all-time great.
3. Cleveland Browns- Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
Actual Selection: Same
Joe Thomas is going to end up being one of the best Browns players of all time. The 10-time Pro Bowler has been a lone bright spot for a Cleveland team that has been lackluster throughout his tenure there.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Patrick Willis, LB, Ole Miss
Actual Selection: Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
Gaines Adams was highly touted out of college. Sadly, he didn’t live up to the hype, was traded to the Bears in 2009 and passed away the year after. The Bucs replace him with Patrick Willis, who made the Pro Bowl in all but one year of his NFL career.
5. Arizona Cardinals- Marshal Yanda, OG/OT, Iowa
Actual Selection: Levi Brown, OT, Penn State
Did you forget that Levi Brown existed? I sure did. Marshal Yanda was an impactful starter from the get go for the Ravens. By adding him, they could’ve squeezed a few more good years out of then-running back Edgerrin James.
6. Washington Redskins- Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh
Actual Selection: LaRon Landry, S, LSU
Fun fact: the 2006 Redskins set the record for the fewest takeaways in a non-strike NFL season. Knowing what they know now, they wouldn’t pass on Darrelle Revis, who topped four interceptions in four different seasons.
7. Minnesota Vikings- Marshawn Lynch, RB, Cal
Actual Selection: Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
The Vikings miss out on AP, but they get a great consolation price in Marshawn Lynch. The addition of the five-time Pro Bowler would be the closest they’d get to replicating Peterson’s success.
8. Atlanta Falcons- Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
Actual Selection: Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas
Atlanta’s secondary wasn’t all that impressive in 2007. Adding Leon Hall, who was a solid producer in his prime, would’ve fixed that.
9. Miami Dolphins- Ryan Kalil, C, USC
Actual Selection: Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Ohio State
Ginn Jr. was a good kick returner in his prime, but to this day hasn’t lived up to his lofty draft status. Ryan Kalil, whom many believe to be one of the best centers in the game, would have.
10. Houston Texans- Eric Weddle, S, Utah
Actual Selection: Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
Amobi Okoye’s career never quite panned out like many thought it would. With that in mind, the Texans take a four-time Pro Bowler in Eric Weddle to improve their secondary.
11. San Francisco 49ers- Joe Staley, OT, Central Michigan
Actual Selection: Patrick Willis, LB, Ole Miss
With Willis gone, the 49ers use their first first-round pick on Joe Staley, their second first-round pick. The five-time Pro Bowler has been a staple on their offense for years.
12. Buffalo Bills- Jon Beason, LB, Miami (FL)
Actual Selection: Marshawn Lynch, RB, Cal
The Bills lose out on Lynch, so they add Jon Beason here. He was one of the best linebackers in the league for a couple of years in the late 2000s and early 2010s.
13. St. Louis Rams- Jermon Bushrod, OT, Towson
Actual Selection: Adam Carriker, DT, Nebraska
The then-St. Louis Rams needed help on their offensive line, much like today. Jermon Bushrod was a two-time Pro Bowler who was a solid protector for Drew Brees for the four years he started in New Orleans.
14. New York Jets- David Harris, LB, Michigan
Actual Selection: Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh
With Revis gone, the Jets add another player who has been a defensive stalwart for the team. David Harris still starts for the team today.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers- Lawrence Timmons, LB, Florida State
Actual Selection: Same
The Steelers hit gold with this pick, so why change it?
16. Green Bay Packers- Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
Actual Selection: Justin Harrell, DT, Tennessee
The Packers needed another solid wide receiver for their roster. Dwayne Bowe is the closest thing this NFL Draft class had to a star receiver.
17. Denver Broncos- LaMarr Woodley, DE, Michigan
Actual Selection: Jarvis Moss, DE, Florida
Denver picked a defensive end in the 2007 NFL Draft, but flopped. LaMarr Woodley would not have done so.
18. Cincinnati Bengals- Michael Griffin, S, Texas
Actual Selection: Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
With Hall gone, the Bengals need to boost their secondary. Michael Griffin, a two-time Pro Bowler, was a ball-hawking safety in his prime.
19. Tennessee Titans- Dashon Goldson, S, Washington
Actual Selection: Michael Griffin, S, Texas
Unfortunately for the Titans, their long-time defensive staple, Michael Griffin, went the pick before them. Luckily, Dashon Goldson is still a good addition.
20. New York Giants- LaRon Landry, S, LSU
Actual Selection: Aaron Ross, CB, Texas
Much like the previous two teams, the Giants needed secondary help. LaRon Landry was a tackling machine in his prime.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars- Brandon Meriweather, S, Miami (FL)
Actual Selection: Reggie Nelson, S, Florida
The run on safeties continues with this selection. Brandon Meriweather, also known as the Head Hunter, was a two-time Pro Bowler.
22. Cleveland Browns- Charles Johnson, DE, Georgia
Actual Selection: Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
Another Browns quarterback pick that didn’t pan out. What a surprise. If given a second chance, they would likely take Charles Johnson, who was an elite pass rusher in his prime.
23. Kansas City Chiefs- Ben Grubbs, G, Auburn
Actual Selection: Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
With Bowe gone, the Chiefs needed a replacement for Will Shields. Ben Grubbs was a two-time Pro Bowler who was a key part of Baltimore’s offensive line for five seasons.
24. New England Patriots- Greg Olsen, TE, Miami (FL)
Actual Selection: Brandon Meriweather, S, Miami (FL)
Sure, the Patriots would pick go on to Rob Gronkowski a few years later, but tight end was a need at the time. Could you imagine a passing attack with Tom Brady throwing to Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Greg Olsen?
25. Carolina Panthers- Paul Posluzsny, LB, Penn State
Actual Selection: Jon Beason, LB, Miami (FL)
The Panthers miss out on keeping Beason, so they add another solid linebacker in Paul Posluzsny. The Poz topped 100 tackles in eight seasons.
26. Dallas Cowboys- Doug Free, OT, Northern Illinois
Actual Selection: Anthony Spencer, LB, Purdue
Doug Free started every game that he played in for the Cowboys from 2011 to 2016. It’s hard to let that reliability slip away.
27. New Orleans Saints- Justin Blalock, G, Texas
Actual Selection: Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
Justin Blalock only missed three games in his eight years with the Falcons, and started in all of the 125 games he played. He would go well alongside Jahri Evans.
28. San Francisco 49ers- Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina
Actual Selection: Joe Staley, OT, Central Michigan
Sidney Rice only had one big season: a 1,312-yard Pro Bowl season in 2009. Nonetheless, the 49ers were starving for talent at receiver in 2007.
29. Baltimore Ravens- Lyle Sendlein, C, Texas
Actual Selection: Ben Grubbs, G, Auburn
After his rookie season, Lyle Sendlein started in every game he played for eight years. The Ravens, lacking at talent at center at the time, would’ve pounced on that.
30. San Diego Chargers- James Jones, WR, San Jose State
Actual Selection: Craig “Buster” Davis, WR, LSU
Buster Davis clearly brought out the “bust” in his name. James Jones has quietly been a decent receiver for many years.
31. Chicago Bears- Levi Brown, OT, Penn State
Actual Selection: Greg Olsen, TE, Miami (FL)
The Bears miss out on Greg Olsen, but they screwed up with him anyways by trading him to Carolina. Levi Brown didn’t live up to the hype, but he was a reliable starter for Arizona for five years.
32. Indianapolis Colts- Reggie Nelson, S, Florida
Actual Selection: Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Ohio State
Reggie Nelson didn’t really bloom until 2015. However, this draft class gets a lot thinner the farther down the picks go.